Our ending to this season of Agents of SHIELD is one that will have to hold us until 2018. But was it worth it?
Perhaps the problem with SHIELD is that it improved too late. I know I’m not the first to suggest this, but the truth is, television is no longer a medium where patience is rewarded. And SHIELD has been struggling–slowly, painfully–over the first three seasons to figure out where it wanted to sit in the MCU firmament.
Talbot: You expect me to put that in my report?
Coulson: I have a cybernetic hand. I’ve been to another planet. These things happen in SHIELD.
Unlike the Netflix shows–each of which understood themselves to be part of one larger whole in a separate TV universe–SHIELD came into being under the impression it was part of the movie-verse. When that finally disappeared out from under it, it was already two seasons deep, having squandered the first season, and then spending the second having hijacked itself to a movie that was canceled, reinvented as a TV show and now threatens to take SHIELD‘s slot on ABC away altogether. Last season, the show got their stuff together, and began popping out episodes like the Blue Planet. By the end of Season 3, it had come up with the “pod” format that served it so well this year.
And make no mistake–if there’s one thing the finale did, it was take all those “pods” and tie them together nicely in a bow. We had callbacks to rebel Daisy and Ghost Rider, as well as finally seeing the two of them work together in tandem. (Yeah, Coulson, you should be sorry you missed it–it was fab.) We also called back to the LMD takeover of Pod two, with a spare Simmons for AIDA to kill. (Nice fake out that–I was really upset for a minute thinking they’d killed her off.)
Fitz: There are lots of ways to express sadness and pain. There’s music and art…
AIDA: And smashing heads on the floor! That’s the one I like the best so far.
And then there was the wrap up of pod 3, both in and outside the framework. Inside the Framework, we had Mack, trying to outrun a universe that was disappearing in on itself, as if somehow he could, by the power of love, make the pixels of little Hope stay together. By the end he had given up, and found himself sitting on a couch in an empty house, holding thin air, while YoYo patiently waiting beside him for reality to set in that they needed to leave already.
But though that was touching and all that (and suggested that Mack and YoYo might decide to go the parent route here in the real world), the real finale of pod 3 was given to Radcliffe. With no body to return to, no Agnes by his side, and his bid for immortality gone, Radcliffe sat down on the beach, a drink in hand, to toast to the end. This is how the world ends, not with a bang, but with a silent erasing of code, as the drink, and the bottle fall to the sand.
Coulson: You know Robot May was way more supportive.
But those were merely the major strands to wrap up. There were also minor strands as well, from the Government needing an explanation for this season’s antics–including the fact that Jeffrey Mace wasn’t an Inhuman after all–to Coulson and May going over exactly what Coulson did with her Robot double, to Daisy admitting she never should have run away in the first place back at the beginning of the season. There were so many strands that AIDA actually got killed off surprisingly early in the hour, because there was so much more important stuff to deal with than her psycho ex girlfriend act.
About that AIDA death–she was killed off by Ghost Rider, as expected, but while inhabiting Coulson’s body, not Robbie’s. it was a temporary transfer of firepower, but a big old hint to what might be coming next season. Ghost Rider can’t just randomly inhabit bodies and give them back. Does this tie back to that fact that Coulson died once already? And what does it say about that ending?
Coulson: Fair enough. We’re going to need another bottle to discuss what happened with that bottle.
Yeah ABOUT that ending. Let us recap: Due to AIDA wanting revenge on Daisy for pushing her out the window in the Framework, she has a Daisy LMD shoot Talbot in broad daylight in front of a bunch of dignitaries. This is AIDA’s way of trying to demonize Inhumans and SHIELD both at the same time to bring about Agents of HYDRA in real life. Because this is not a computer program she controls, it all goes sideways, and she doesn’t get what she wants. But Talbot now thinks he was shot by Daisy, his assistants are trying to arrest them, and the whole team is on the run.
So, because we need a sharwma type moment to end the season, the entire team–together again for the first time since the end of Season 3–hit up a diner, and have a meal while they wait for the government to come collect them. but before the pie can be served, the government team shows up–and “has a two-minute window” to get them all out. Next thing we know Coulson wakes up….in space.
Daisy: Seriously, therapy. Consider it.
What in heaven’s name is this new pod that we’ve happened upon? Is this Coulson in space related to why Ghost Rider could take him over? Are the rest of the team also in space now? What is the thing Coulson isn’t telling people? (Is this going to be some sort of retcon all the way back to season 1?) More than a few people are hoping this will tie into 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, but we know the show doesn’t do that anymore. So what in heaven’s name is happening?
Suddenly I am very resentful of ABC’s insistence on seeing if the MCU’s new pet show is a hit before they allow SHIELD back on the air next spring. Screw The Inhumans. Bring Back SHIELD.